City Council Discusses Changing Spending Policy
Posted 7:45pm 2/25/13 The Galesburg City Council met for their second work session of 2013 Monday night to discuss current financial policies.

Aldermen decided to pursue monthly work sessions throughout the year in an effort to better adopt the next fiscal year budget.

City Manager Todd Thompson recommended changing purchasing threshold limits at last night's meeting. Currently, any spending of $5,000 dollars or more must go before council for approval.

Changing the threshold seeks to reduce the workload of both the City Council and City staff while potentially saving money for the City and preventing project delays.

Thompson says the measure would allow the City to spend more time on other issues.

"It would give us an opportunity to reallocate some of that time for other projects rather than eliminating a person," says Thompson. "It wouldn't be enough hours to eliminate someone just by raising it to $10,000, but it would free up some time we could use in other areas."

An analysis of current spending habits revealed that 41% of "purchase orders" carried out by the City deal with items of less than $5,000.

First Ward Alderman Ken Goad says he lost some trust in the City's spending practices in just the last year.

"The $5,000, a number of years ago one the previous City Managers wanted to raise the limit to $20,000 and the Council very emphatically said no," says Goad. "Now we're headed back toward that goal again."

The 12% that deal with expenses above $20,000 dollars take up 89% of the budget.

Galesburg is well below comparable cities when it comes to spending that goes to formal bid. Rock Island is the second lowest with a threshold of $10,000.

Seventh Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin says he shares Goad's concerns, but says there are areas of disagreement.

"I think a better way of managing the way that we spend our money, and making sure that we spend it wisely is making sure that we spend our money on the priorities that we set as a council and better defining those and hopefully we're going to do that as part of this budget process," says Karlin.

The new recommendation would only send purchases to Council for approval if they are $10,000 and above.

Otherwise, the matter would be handled by the department head or City Manager.

The Government Finance Officers Association recommends in their elected officials guide to make procurement as quick and cost-effective as possible.
02 25 13 by Newsroom
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